While honey bees are essential to the global food supply as they pollinate crops, honey bees are also solely responsible for the production of honey and beeswax. Both products are commodities in many cultures – honey due to its delicious flavor and health benefits and beeswax for its many uses in skin care and household products, plus candles and many other products. Most honeybees in America are raised and kept by professional and amateur beekeepers or feral bee colonies who build nests on farms away from people. Professional beekeepers rent honey bees to the agricultural industry for pollination purposes. Normally, European honey bees keep to their work and don’t bother people or pets. Usually, honey bees sting as a last resort, to protect their hives from imminent threats. Their curved stingers cause their abdomens to separate from the rest of their bodies when they sting, killing them. At Petri Pest Control Services, we want to clear up misconceptions about bee removal and treatment.
Feral Bee Colonies May be Africanized
According to The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), Africanized honey bees (AHBs) have bred with feral honey bees and an established percentage of feral honey bee colonies in South Florida are AHBs. Virtually indistinguishable from European honey bees, Africanized bees are much more aggressive than European honey bees when their nests are disturbed or they sense a threat. Additionally, researchers have found that Africanized honey bees are more sensitive to threats than European honey bees and are more apt to prepare to defend their colonies at a faster rate than Europeans do. Disturbing Africanized honey bees should also be avoided because they sting 6 to 10 times more than European bees, continuing to attack their offenders for longer periods, for much greater distances away from their nests or hives. Building smaller nests than Europeans, Africanized honey bee nests are often in exposed areas, such as drainage ditches and under highway overpasses.
Honey Bees Too Close for Comfort?
Sometimes, however, feral bee colonies build their nests in wall voids or ceilings, as well as in empty containers, garages, utility meters, chimneys, crawlspaces, sheds, and other areas around homes. If you notice honey bees continually entering and leaving holes in your house’s exterior, in the eaves of your home, in crawl spaces, or other structures on your property, they’re likely building a colony nearby.
Bee Nests Require Professional Handling
Petri Pest Control Services advises using an experienced beekeeper if bees are located in an easily accessible place such as a hollow tree, but when the bees are living in building walls, attics, or are tucked away where they are impossible to reach and could be a threat to people, eliminating the bees may be the only option. If the bees appear overly aggressive, which may indicate they are Africanized honey bees, carefully destroying the bee nest may be the only option. Homeowners need to contact a professional pest control service, such as Petri Pest Control Services, to handle a bee situation for many reasons, including:
- Special equipment, protective clothing, and experience are needed to avoid bee stings.
- AHBs are more defensive than European honey bees and will sting if threatened.
- Killing bees in walls and voids with over-the-counter insecticides can cause strong odors in your home as dead bees and their brood decay.
- The honey stored in the hive can absorb moisture and ferment or overheat without adult bees tending to it, leaking through walls and ceilings, staining surfaces, softening drywall, and puddling on floors.
- Dripping honey and dead bee odors can attract ants, cockroaches, carpet beetles, and moths.
As per the IFAS, “The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) currently recommends that all feral honey bee colonies be exterminated by certified pest control operators, or removed alive by a registered beekeeper who will requeen the colony with an EHB queen, allowing the colony to be placed back into agricultural production.”
When bees are found living in building walls, attics, or in impossible-to-reach places, they may pose threats to people, destroying a bee nest may be the only option.
Professional Nest Removal
Professional pest control companies have the equipment and skill to remove all traces of the nest to avoid the problems associated with using DIY (do-it-yourself) methods. More importantly, it is crucial to remove the honey, the comb, and the dead bees. Honeybee nests located in wall voids may require a contractor to get into a wall void or ceiling area. Professional pest control services can recommend a contractor or professional cleaning service to remove remaining honey, comb, and dead bees. Plugging all openings where bees entered the structure is an essential step as new bee swarms find abandoned nests extremely attractive, as do other pests.
At Petri Pest Control Services, we do not recommend pest control companies spraying plants and shrubbery outdoors when honey bees are present. No one should indiscriminately kill honey bees as they are a protected species because of the vital role bees play as pollinators. However, if bees form a nest on or in a structure, they can be treated. In some cases, Petri Pest Control Services may recommend a beekeeper to smoke out and remove the bee colony but if they are an immediate threat to people, then Petri Pest Control Services will treat the bees by applying dust directly to the nest, removing the threat. Serving Palm Beach County and Broward County for 65 years, Petri Pest Control Services is your local source for quality, reliable, and affordable pest control in South Florida.
Got bees? Contact us today for a free pest inspection!
Have A Bee Issue? Here’s What We Can Do in South Florida
Serving Broward County and Palm Beach County